I’ve spent quite a lot of time in worlds that don’t exist — indeed, can’t exist! — outside of collective imagination. Here I ramble a bit about them.
In the future, our brains will be merged near-seamlessly with computers…
This is the dream of an increasingly larger number of people, the nightmare of a vanishingly smaller number, and the unlikely possibility to the vast majority. For me, it’s all three, a statement of the desire to have magic-like powers as machines are finally transformed from external servants to entwined extensions. Machines are dumb tools, hard to use without training, inanimate or at best barely-intelligent materials with which we either communicate vaguely and clumsily, or we endure countless hours adapting our natural patterns and mental conditioning to accommodate the tyranny of atoms, the unyielding physical matter..
But the dream holds thus: we are entwined with the machines, they are extensions of our thoughts, able to respond with ease to what our true meanings are. We dream that we will not have to conform our internal, perfect visions through the crude medium of physical action or the crude linearity of vocalizations.
This is the dream of the integrated post-human, of the merged homo sapiens electronica, not a new idea but one which seems more visible now. We already extend our thoughts and memories and society out over the Web, that soup of information into which we pour our souls and drink deeply, sometimes intimately and sometimes with voyeuristic intention.
Right now, it seems embarrassingly primitive, sometimes. I’m communicating through words in a linear fashion, but behind these mad fingers and roiling brain is the perfect thought, uncrafted and raw but immediate and direct, perfect, and..
But wait? Is it perfect?
Is there nothing to be said of craft?
Is the miasma of my thoughts really better than the clarity of my words? Continue reading
I just finished reading this book (China Mieville’s Perdido St. Station).